Ireland captain Johnny Sexton said his latest injury problem is “not major” and he hopes to be fit for the Guinness Six Nations opener with Wales. Fly-half Sexton, who suffered hamstring issues at the back end of last year, limped off during Leinster’s PRO14 win over Munster on Saturday.

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“Any time you get a little niggle like that it’s very frustrating because I trained hard to make sure that didn’t happen and it did at the time I didn’t want it to happen, which is somewhat typical,” said Sexton, whose country play in Cardiff on February 7.

“It’s not major and hopefully I will be back training by the end of the week and hopefully be fit for the Wales game. It can be frustrating when you pick up these things but it is a tough game to get through now.

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Chris Ashton’s first interview as a Worcester player

“I was in a good place before the Munster game, so I won’t let it get me down too much and just get back on the horse and hopefully I will be firing next week.”

Leinster prop Tadhg Furlong was included in Ireland’s squad despite not having played for almost a year due to back, calf and hamstring issues. Farrell said Furlong was feeling “fit” and “strong” and hoped the player would be able to build his fitness by playing for Leinster against Scarlets on Saturday.

“There’s a natural progression that needs to happen for Tadhg himself to be physically and mentally right and to earn the right to be available for Wales,” said the coach. “Speaking to Tadhg on Tuesday, he was feeling good, feeling fit, strong, meeting all the requirements.

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“He feels in good spirits so hopefully we get him through to the end of the week, get him some minutes under his belt for Leinster if selected, and then the plan would be that he comes back into camp on Sunday with us and we can assess where he is at.”

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